CHICAGO -- Kevin Youkilis insists this strong run has nothing to do with his old team. It's all about the Chicago White Sox now, and the AL Central leaders are sure glad to have the veteran third baseman in their lineup.
Youkilis backed Gavin Floyd with a two-run homer and the White Sox beat the Toronto Blue Jays 2-0 on Saturday for their fifth consecutive win.Floyd (7-8) allowed four hits and walked two in 7 2/3 innings while improving to 3-1 with a 1.37 ERA in his past four starts. The 6-foot-6 right-hander received a standing ovation when he left in the eighth.
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The White Sox are a season-high 10 games over .500 and have won a season-best seven straight at home.Ricky Romero (8-4) allowed two runs and four hits in six innings for the Blue Jays, who have lost three straight.Romero made one big mistake, and it was a costly one.With two outs in the fifth inning and Alexei Ramirez on first, Youkilis drove Romero's 1-1 pitch over the wall in center for his seventh homer of the season and No. 3 since he was acquired in a trade with the Red Sox."It's hard to say you expect it, but you like having guys on base and you like him in tough situations because he just continues to find the right pitch and just battle," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said.Youkilis has produced the go-ahead RBI in five of his last six games. Saturday's drive sent Romero to his third consecutive loss."The 1-1 pitch where he's trying to go in on Youkilis, he misfires across the plate and it cost him two runs, and ultimately the ballgame," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "But his mound presence, his demeanor, body language all that was very good, and I thought he attacked the zone with confidence."With his clutch hitting and strong play at third base, Youkilis quickly has become a fan favorite in his first homestand with his new club. The familiar "Yooouk" salute that was once a fixture at Fenway Park is quickly becoming a regular occurrence at U.S. Cellular Field."You can be popular one week then a bomb the next," Youkilis said. "The game is crazy and you just have to keep grinding it out. You can't get too high, you can't get too low, you just try to stay in the middle."Youkilis is blocking out all talk that he has something to prove to his former team."Hey, this has nothing to do with the Red Sox," he said. "I play for the White Sox, I'm here to play for the White Sox."With closer Addison Reed getting the day off, Matt Thornton got four outs for his second save of the season. Jose Bautista hit a one-out drive in the ninth that left fielder Dayan Viciedo lost in the sun, but the White Sox recovered in time to cut down the All-Star slugger trying for a triple."That play's right in front of him," Farrell said. "Down two with one out and Edwin (Encarnacion) coming up, he was trying to generate something. It took a bang-bang relay throw, they executed it and it didn't work."Bautista argued the call with third base umpire Derryl Cousins, but quickly left the field.Brett Lawrie led off the game with a single, but Floyd did not allow another hit until J.P. Arencibia led off the sixth with a single. Arencibia was quickly retired on Lawrie's double-play ball.Floyd entered with an 0-5 record and a 7.26 career ERA against the Blue Jays."He was so super aggressive, which is something we've been harping on a while," White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. "It was nice to see and it was nice for him to get the results he got."
Youkilis has 13 RBIs in 12 games since joining the White Sox. ... Ventura said LHP Chris Sale will pitch no more than one inning in the All-Star game on Tuesday. The 23-year-old Sale is 10-2 with a 2.19 ERA in his first season as a starter. The White Sox are closely monitoring Sale's workload. ... Farrell set his rotation for the second half. Romero will start Friday, followed by Aaron Laffey, Carlos Villanueva, Henderson Alvarez and Brett Cecil. ... Lawrie left in the sixth inning with lower back tightness.
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CHICAGO, IL - JULY 7: Starting pitcher Ricky Romero #24 of the Toronto Blue Jays delivers during the first inning...